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Endowment gift from Northwest Farm Credit Services is largest single gift in Oregon FFA history.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Molalla FFA program is one of dozens in Oregon high schools preparing for the 2021 Oregon State FFA Convention in March.The first week of 2021 has been a good one for the Oregon FFA Foundation, which announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6, that it had received the largest single gift in program history.

Northwest Farm Credit Services donated $500,000 to the program to establish an "Oregon FFA Today and Tomorrow" endowment.

"This groundbreaking seed gift gives us the foundation to establish an endowment fund that will provide support for the Oregon FFA Association in perpetuity," Foundation President Kirk Maag said. "This will ensure that Oregon FFA can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education."

Northwest Farm Credit Services is a lending cooperative that provides financial services to farmers, ranchers and various agribusiness enterprises across the Pacific Northwest.

Brent Fetsch, the company's Oregon president and current secretary of the Oregon FFA Foundation Board of Directors, said the endowment is an investment meant to help sustain agriculture education to future generations of farmers and ranchers.

"Students who participate in FFA are more likely to graduate from high school and 93 percent continue their education beyond high school," Fetsch said. "We hope others will join us by investing in 'Oregon FFA Today and Tomorrow' to provide a stable source of funding well into the future."

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Gervais High School senior and FFA member Molly Taylor pets a rescued horse at the school grounds on Sept. 14. The new $500,000 endowment will help provide future generations of FFA students like Taylor with additional resources to pursue agricultural careers after high school."We are grateful for the impactful work Oregon FFA does for over 11,000 students, communities and agriculture," said Fetsch, who is a former Oregon State FFA Officer, continued. "We are especially thankful for the over 160 agricultural science teachers and FFA advisors who are a powerful and positive influence on these young lives. We are proud to partner with Oregon FFA to achieve great things for agriculture and rural communities."

"We are deeply humbled and grateful to Northwest Farm Credit Services and the leadership of Brent Fetsch and his team for their continuing and generous investment in the lives of FFA members," Maag said.

Last year's Oregon FFA State Convention was abruptly canceled in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Portions of the event were later held virtually.

This year's convention is scheduled for March 18-21 at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. For more information, go to oregonffa.com/state-convention.


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